1996 - The Disappearance of Public Space on the Net – Paul Garrin
The Internet was started in the 1970's by the U.S. Defense Departmentas a communications tool and is now being bought out by I.B.M., M.C.I.and other megaCorporations. April, 1995 marked the closing of theNational Science Foundation's part of the internet, and signaled thebeginning of the end of the publicly funded computer networkinfrastructure.
This race toward "privatization" is taking place behind closed doors and in corporate boardrooms, well outside the sphere of public debate, and threatens the very existence of free speech over electronic networks. Just as shopping malls are private property, where "freedom of speech" means that the owners of the property have the right to silence those with whom they disagree, often using their own private security personnel (rent-a cops), the private spaces on the internet will follow the same model. This is not just paranoia--there is already historical precident to support this claim. In 1990, Prodigy, an online service owned jointly by Sears and IBM decided to charge haigher rates for customers sending large volumes of email. When users posted notices protesting the limits on the amount of speech, and sent email to Prodigy's online advertisers threatening boycotts, Prodigy read and censored the messages and cancelled the users' accounts. A spokesman for Prodigy wrote an arrogant opinion piece in the New York (lies of our) Times stating that the company would continue restricting speech as it saw fit, including criticisms of the company.
The first course of action, of course, is to boycott the large corporate net providers such as America OnLine, Compu$erve, Prodigy, E-World, and other "shopping malls" on the net. Support local, independent internet providers who give real internet access and do not restrict usage. Encourage others to cancel their accounts on the "malls" and to sign up with independent providers or get an account thorough a university (students and professors usually get free accounts on university servers). Some may resist giving up the "convenience" of these services because it's often more difficult to set up "real" internet access, and requires a bit more time to learn how to use it effectively. However, these should be more reasons to boycott the megamalls, who would rather keep you ignorant--shopping and playing games--than encourage you use your brains.
Participate in and support the growing number of independent sites on the World wide Web. Create sites and link to other independent sites. Take control of the web and create content--independent worldwide distribution is now in our hands. Establish a strong presence and make your voices heard before what is left of the public space on the internet is legislated away by the cronies of the Christian Right in government and the multinational corporations who want to create a global "virtual megaMall."
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The Disappearance of Public Space on the Net fue presentado durante el Festival Next 5 Minutes en su segunda edición celebrada del 18 al 21 de enero de 1996 en las ciudades de Amsterdam y Rotterdam (1). Next 5 Minutes fueron una serie de encuentros dedicados al tactical media y a la intersección entre arte, política y medios de comunicación (2). El festival cuenta con cuatro ediciones que no se organizaron siguiendo un patrón temporal recurrente (2). La segunda edición del festival se dividió en las siguientes temáticas: investigación táctica, públicos, dominios y accesos, lenguajes metafóricos y net criticism (1).
Another nettime topic from early on is the economics and politics of domain names, associated with the Name.Space initiative of New York artist/activist Paul Garrin. He was one of the attendees of the Venice meeting. His www.mediafilter.org had been arguably one of the first media activist sites on the World Wide Web. In his manifesto “The Disappearance of Public Space on the Net” (early 1996), Garrin warns that “the race toward ‘privatization’ is taking place behind closed doors and in corporate boardrooms, well outside the sphere of public debate, and threatens the very existence of free speech over electronic networks. Just as shopping malls are private property, where ‘freedom of speech’ means that the owners of the property have the right to silence those with whom they disagree, often using their own private security personnel (rent-a-cops), the private spaces on the Internet will follow the same model.”35 Garrin called to “participate in and support the growing number of independent sites on the World Wide Web. Create sites and link to other independent sites. Take control of the web and create content—independent worldwide distribution is now in our hands.” During the nettime meeting after Next Five Minutes 2 he elaborated these ideas to form a PAN, a “permanent autonomous network” (in contrast to the festive eventism of Hakim Bey’s Temporary Autonomous Zone), which would not only share content but also infrastructure. This proposal, which in fact meant starting an alternative telco was perhaps a bit too ambitious. In the course of 1996 Garrin boiled down PAN to one concrete issue, the fight for the liberation of domain name space. The aim was to challenge the monopoly of Network Solutions Inc., the only company entitled to sell .com, .org and .net domain names. DARK FIBER p. 101 pdf p.89 libro
Paul Garrin nació en la ciudad de Filadelfia, Estados Unidos, en el año de 1957 y estudió Arte en la Cooper Union of Art de Nueva York, donde se graduó bajo la dirección de Hans Haacke, Vito Acconci y Martha Rosler (3). Para el año de 1981 inició su producción de cintas y videoinstalaciones con la cooperación de Nam June Paik (3), aunque Garrin comenzó trabajando con el video, con el paso del tiempo ha producido trabajos que abarcan medios análogos y digitales, uno de ellos, Internet, donde explora el impacto de esta tecnología en la sociedad y su relación con el acceso, la libertad de expresión y el espacio público/privado (4).